President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for the democratization of multilateral organizations so as to ensure inclusivity in decision-making.
The President, who spoke at an interactive session on governance at the ongoing Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, said changing how multilateral institutions such as the United Nations are managed will help in quicker resolution of global challenges such as Covid-19.
“It will really depend on us being able to change the global governance system. The manner in which the UN Security Council works, the manner in which the UN and its organizations work in order for us to determine as to whether we shall see change,” President Kenyatta said.
He observed that the global multilateral system was not operating optimally and expressed optimism that world leaders will through diplomacy and dialogue develop a new order that fosters inclusivity.
“We have seen that the global governance system is not actually working for equality and fairness for all global citizens, and I think it just draws us to the reality that we have a challenge and that the challenge can only be overcome if we democratize more our global governance systems, if we are more inclusive in our decision making processes,” President Kenyatta said.
The Kenyan leader said the slow flow of Covid-19 vaccines into developing countries was indicative of the warped global multilateral system. He observed that the initial collaborative successes in the management of the pandemic have been negated by the unfair global distribution of the vaccines.
“We were also very active in the early stages, participating in the acts of companies and corporations that were developing vaccines. Participating in the clinical trials but unfortunately despite our preparations, when it came to the crunch and the crunch here is accessing vaccines that would have given us all protection, we were at the bottom of the list,” the President said.
President Kenyatta said it is unfortunate that some countries have more Covid-19 vaccines than they require while others are struggling to access enough doses.
“Now this is kind of vaccine nationalism that we have seen. The kind of bias that we have seen of withholding vaccines, where you have countries that today hold 50 vaccines to every citizen, and yet you have countries that are struggling to give their citizens a single dose,” President Kenyatta observed.
On Africa’s response to Covid-19, President Kenyatta said the continent united behind the African Union which ensured all countries had equitable access to resources needed to fight the pandemic.
“When I look at how we as African countries responded (to Covid-19) under the AU (African Union), we were very closely knit in terms of our reactions and actions. How we cooperated in developing and coming up with COVAX to ensure vaccines were going to be available not to one particular country,” he said.
President Kenyatta told the panel discussion that included Haiti President Jovenel Moise that despite all nations being negatively affected by Covid-19, developing countries are feeling more pain because of their higher vulnerabilities.
“Here we are struggling on one hand with direct problems caused by the pandemic, and many other (related) challenges like unemployment caused by the disruption of the global supply chain. At the same time, we are struggling between keeping our people economically stable and paying our debts,” the President said while decrying vaccine nationalism.
“What this pandemic has actually shown us is that we need cooperation. It has shown that you cannot win unless everybody wins. We have seen a lot of companies and corporations working together to come up with vaccines.
“The kind of vaccine nationalism and bias of withholding vaccines that we have seen is shocking with some countries having more vaccines than they need for their citizens while others cannot afford a single dose”.
In his opening address, host President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the international community had failed to effectively manage the devastating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and warned against vaccine nationalism.
“We should not allow vaccine nationalism and not repeat the same mistakes committed during the pandemic period,” President Erdogan said.
President Kenyatta, who is accompanied by Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo, is in the Mediterranean sea city of Antalya for a two-day Official Visit of Turkey at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.